Across almost all sectors, the large majority of customers are very hungry for information from the companies they deal with. Clearly, companies are very stretched trying to cope with unprecedented demands on everyone’s time but our survey shows that there are opportunities to enhance companies’ reputation in the eyes of customers by giving customer communications a little more thought.
A survey on the TLF Panel conducted on Tuesday March 25th 2020 with a nationally representative sample of 1,688 respondents showed fewer than half of all home owners, private renters and social housing tenants have been contacted about recent events. Read the summary online below or download a PDF copy. For more information about the survey and results please contact us here.
Are you communicating with customers?
40% of home owners have been contacted by their mortgage company
30% of private renters have been contacted by their landlord
35% of social housing tenants have been contacted by their housing association
Even the minority who have been contacted are not always happy with the information they’ve received.
Only 20% of home owners were very satisfied with the information provided by their mortgage company and only 18% of social housing tenants with the information from their housing association. Why is that? It seems that communications are too much like one way traffic – telling customers facts about what you are going to do for them, and what you are not going to do for them, rather than asking how you might be able to help them.
For example, housing associations, if they have made contact at all, told their residents how they could contact the housing association and what changes they are making to responsive repairs, planned maintenance and payment services. Only 1 in 5 were told about services for vulnerable residents or about how they could make contact if they had concerns about their health. And don’t forget, that’s only the 35% who had been contacted in the first place. So approximately 7% of social housing tenants have been reminded about services for vulnerable residents or given any information about how to make contact if they have health concerns. This is particularly unfortunate since most people are more concerned about others than themselves.
How worried are people?
We asked panellists how worried they are about various things, scored on the normal 10-point scale where 10 means ‘extremely concerned’ and 1 means ‘not at all concerned’. So if we take those scoring 7 to 10, 66% are concerned about their financial stability, fewer than half (48%) about job security and just over half, 52%, about isolation and loneliness. More people, 61%, are concerned about their own physical health and 54% about their own mental health. But here’s the interesting thing, almost 3 in every 4 people (73%) are concerned about their family and friends’ physical health and 66% about family and friends’ mental health. They are more worried about other people than about themselves! 66% are also concerned about supply of food, 62% about supply of other products.
Opportunities for customer communications
This offers some clear opportunities for all suppliers’ communications to their customers. Clearly some forms of advice and offers of help will be more relevant to some sectors than others, but here, in order of priority, are the things that people are most worried about and where they would value help and advice.
There are obviously other concerns such as financial stability which will be very relevant to some sectors but there are many opportunities for companies across all sectors to engage in genuinely helpful communications with their customers. And they want you to. We also asked panellists if they thought companies should stop doing surveys to collect feedback from customers. Less than 1 in 8 said they should stop showing that they want communication from suppliers and they want suppliers to show some concern for them.